Monday, January 30, 2006

Everyone needs a good laughter sometimes...

You don't stop laughing just because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing. (Michael Pritchard)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy New (Chinese) Year!

It's a New Year also for the Chinese People...actually the year of the Dog.
WHoff-whoff.. Best time to revise your NYs resolutions..:)) Unfortunately I haven't made mine, but there is still time left in this 2006. Cheers.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Braille alphabet

I just wanted to write down my name using the Braille alphabet. I was intrigued by it from the begining and always considered it to be a great invention that gives back a lot to the ones not so fortunate to see like we do. I never paid any real attention to it, but more the logic behind and with potential ways of improvement...
On the other hand is a reminder to be greatful for all those small things we usually take for granted

--my name translated in Braille--

Ebay and Paypal -silenzio stampa works better-

Today I can declare myself a content man. I finally got my Paypal account restored (after millenial "fighting" with unknown clerks that respond automatically to your emails and a couple of checks sent to them to make up for a transaction that I claimed through the credit card company). It has been almost 9 months since then. I guess I wasn't too tenacious myself since I had periods of giving up the fight and just forget all about this lazy company but in the end the stubborness triumphed (like most times?)although I am not such a big shopper at all. I just resent unjustice of any kind. Thank you Paypal and Ebay..?!?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Michael Moore ...and local non-satiation disease

I decided to write more often in this blogg, because I have been so lazy in the past and afterall it's not such a big of a deal to write a couple of words a day/week/ year. There are of course constraints. Two of the biggest are time and inspiration which can definitely shape your nature and frequency of the blogg.
But, ceteris paribus, let's talk about movies. Again...:)
Just saw the one called "Bowling for Columbine" another M Moore creation..:)
Of course you all know who MM is (..the guy with Fahrenheit 9/11) right?
Well this documentary is on the same page. The questions are different and the discussion goes to more domestic US issues but the methods are the same. Columbine is a high school in a classic Colorado small suburbia, where two high school teenagers opened fire on their class/school mates and professors. The outcome was tragic: twelve fellow students and a teacher dead, as well as twenty-four wounded. After the consummation of this rampage the two students committed suicide. It is considered to be the deadliest school shooting, and the second deadliest attack on a school in US History. Another incident happened in Michigan where a six year old boy killed a six-year old girl at school without knowing exactly the consequences of his actions.
The question MM raises is why there is so much violence in the US comparing with other countries? Well besides what he says in the film, I would like to comment on it by saying that it could probably be explained by differences:
- in the legislation (gun control)--how many, and how hard it is to get a gun--
- social welfare and distributional issues (a higher discrepancy between different social classes/income/social status yielding a high difference in a Gini coefficient)
- external influences (media, politicians, commercials, music etc) which obviously have a huge interest in increasing our consumption, creating a market in our heads for guns and other self-protecting means.
Summarizing these three factors I think you can explain variations across countries. Of course the second amendment here in the US and a tradition in some parts of the country for keeping guns around the house can lead to formation and consolidation of movements like the NRA, but after all, why do we actually need guns around our house and most importantly why do we need so many and so powerful? I really don't think that an assault weapons are best suited to protect homes. After all, there are no hoards of invaders looking forward to breech in. And here the brainwashing power of the media comes into play and it is quite unfortunate that people actually believe in it...when logically interests and higher stakes come into play, bending the truth towards their own advantage.
Bottom line: I liked the film, although a bit tragic...but that's reality. A wake up call. Should it be like this? Yes, it probably will be like this. Why? Because of the public policy and the incentives that it gives. After all, this is the land of the free and the home of the braves, where even the biggest environmentalists are driving SUVs... Why? Because we are all suffering from the same Walrasian non-satiation disease and everything is making us eager to consume even more... Till when? We will have to see that...but the limits can be seen and will become obvious in 10-15 years.
Till then, happy consuming!:)

Personal improvements in understanding Economics

After a month of struggling learning process towards the depths of neo-classical micro theory that is taught in any respectable grad-school in economics, I have to say that I have learned a lot, indeed. Although in the actual exam I didn't feel quite well, hence I couldn't focus on the problems, I still feel I did a pretty good job on it. It remains to be assessed also by the professors and I am hoping that they will feel the same way. I just need to pass it in order to make peace with my mind for having stayed here during the break and crunched all the problems in the textbook and more; which, in the end didn't help almost at all, but increased my overall knowledge in the field. The main concepts and their twists and now quite clear and provable, which I sense it as a significant overall Pareto improvement for myself. On the Cost Benefit site, I always liked that subject although controversial and with obvious limitations; I guess because of its obvious and immediate application in the real world and the difference that such an appraisal could come up with. In addition, before grad school, I never had it, so it was completely new to me.
I surely hope that this would be enough to pass it and from now on utilities, elasticities and all the marginal effects would just be a matter of hobbies and personal interests rather than a necessity required by a formal examination:).

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hostel - Eli Roth & Tarantino

The new Tarantino..actually Eli Roth's movie with the latter as executive producer (and advertising stunt?) and of course many went to watch it in theaters. And with the help of using the name Tarantino, they did clime the US box office on their first week of release. I have to say that although I am a pretty peaky person when it comes to film, music or arts in general, this movie comes closer to what a real horror movie should be...not those cheap lines and teenage scares from Scream and their sequential replicas. However, make no mistake it has its large share of cheese dialogues and action lacking the touch with reality in order to make it more dramatic than it really is. (the script) Moreover it will be interesting to see the reaction of the Slovakian spectators in theaters..:)))...since the whole movie is happening in Slovakia and the country is depicted as rustic, sadistic (gang of kids), poor but yet still full of drunken ready-2party girls. Of course for the sake of art, they could overcome this; without it the plot is weakining a lot.:))

Overall, it is a good horror movie because it gets real, as a good one should. I am curios right now how much was cuted from the original movie and probably it would have been more interesting to see it in a film festival. Myself, I had a nice time viewing it and also laughed a couple of times (there is such a thin line between scary horror movies and funny non-sense making films) but less than usual.:) I would say that this one has a good chance in becoming a classic both because of its expected commercial success and its value.

Have phun with it